A side of beef contains eight major parts of a carcass which we call ‘primals’. These primals are each broken down into smaller ‘sub-primal’ muscles, which are then cut into the retail ready cuts you can find at your local butcher shop or grocery store. Each primal is made up of specific cuts. For example the striploin steak is only located in the loin primal. It contains about 12lbs of striploin steak (or roasts) on a side of beef (depending on the size of the animal). Below is an overview of some of the main cuts of beef and where they come from.

Chuck Primal

The chuck primal includes a very diverse group of roast and steak cuts which when well marbled are quite versatile to cook. You can’t go wrong braising or slow cooking pot roasts with indirect heat in the oven or a smoker. Steak cuts are delicious grilled with direct high heat to your desired level of doneness.

Rib Primal

The rib primal is home to the prized prime rib roast and ribeye steaks. It extends down into the rib cage where you’ll find well marbled short ribs which are excellent for braising or smoking. Add some salt to your ribeye or tomahawk steaks and place on high direct heat to your desired level of doneness. For best steak results, take them off the BBQ when finished and let them rest for 5min or so before eating.

  • Blade Roast / Blade Steak
  • Cross Rib Roast
  • Chuck Short Ribs
  • Petite Tender
  • Flat Iron Steak
  • Denver Steak
  • Stewing Beef
  • Ground Chuck
  • Ribeye / Rib Steak
  • Prime Rib Roast
  • Tomahawk Steak
  • Plate Short Ribs
  • Ribeye Cap Steak
  • Back Ribs

The Lower Cut Primals

The Brisket is sometimes known as the king of smoked meats. Slowly cook it with indirect heat at 250 degrees. The shank boasts excellent flavour and tenderness with braising for long periods of time, allowing the meat and collagens to break down properly. In these primals we also find some really great specialty type steaks which are versatile as fast fry steaks, marinated steaks or fajita strips. All uniquely deep in flavour with great muscle fibres.

Loin Primal

The loin or long loin is home to a good number of very well known steaks. These steaks, known for their tenderness and marbling are typically done best on high and direct heat. Salt them to bring out the flavours and let them rest once done grilling/cooking them. Finish it off with a slight bit of olive oil. We tend to prefer these cuts as steaks, but you can definitely have them cut into roasts for something that turns out very tender and flavourful.

Brisket / Shank Primals
  • Brisket
  • Osso Bucco
  • Shin Shank
Plate / Flank Primals
  • Inside Skirt Steak
  • Outside Skirt Steak
  • Hanger Steak
  • Flank Steak
  • Bavette Steak
  • Tri-tip Steak
  • Short Plate
  • Beef Bacon
  • Striploin Steak
  • Tenderloin Steak
  • T-Bone Steak
  • Porterhouse Steak
  • Top Sirloin Steak
  • Top Sirloin Roast
  • Picahna
  • Coulotte

Round / Hip Primal

Any cut found in the round primal is great for people who like their meat quite lean. Because the round is a hard working primal, the cuts are typically tougher and lend themselves much better to braises, stews, and slow cooked roasts. When cut thin, you can also use these cuts for marinades. The round is a great place to get lean and extra lean ground beef because there usually is a lot less intramuscular fat in the hip.

  • Inside Round Roast
  • Outside Round Roast
  • Eye of Round Roast
  • Sirloin Tip Roast
  • Top Round Steak
  • Oyster Steak
  • Stewing Beef
  • Ground Beef
  • Oxtail